Single In The Suburbs, Installment 26

Will the second time around be the charm? Our columnist decides to re-date a long-distance suitor from her past…

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, our writer made advances towards her daughter’s theater teacher—and was flat-out rejected. Now, it’s time for her date with Sam (short for Sleep Apnea Man), the doctor who she briefly dated in the past. Will the two of them click this time?

Saturday, 12:09 p.m.
Sam's bedroom is as messy as I'd remembered it and his elephantine sleep apnea contraption is still there (what did I expect?) His king-sized bed is unmade and there is a black sock on a chair, another on the floor. His plaid pajama bottoms and The Wall Street Journal are strewn across the bed. He is on top of me and is apparently struggling to undress us both while performing a tonsillectomy. I am not having fun, but I am willing to go along with this, if only so that I can stop feeling like a 40-ish year old virgin. But once again, Sam’s equipment malfunctions.

Saturday, 12:14 p.m.
He looks at me woefully and says something that sounds like, “I’m no spring
It’s actually nice, just lying here, talking.
chicken.” I’m tempted to ask if he has considered Viagra. but I’m afraid it might hurt his feelings so I tell him it’s really O.K. and snuggle into the crook of his massive arm. I listen while he tells me about his frustrations with aging, and I try not to think about my ex-husband who probably has no such difficulties with his 25-year-old girlfriend.

It’s actually kind of nice, just lying here talking. Sam asks about my work and soon I’m telling him about the wicked Brenda McAleer and my sense that she’s attempting to systematically drive me crazy—or drive me out of my job.

Sam says he thinks Brenda may be a borderline personality and begins listing the disorders characteristics. Unstable and intense relationships. Identity disturbance. Affective instability. As he drones on I realize that his double pillow-top bed is very comfortable and I’m tired from the long drive. I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open.

Saturday, 1:45 p.m.
“Hey, sleepy-head.”

Sam is propped up on his elbow beside me. I’m embarrassed to realize that I have fallen asleep. “Oops. Sorry.” Apparently I’d been dozing for a half hour and while Sam just watched me.

“Was I drooling?”

He smiles. “No. But I think you must have been dreaming because you were talking in your sleep.”

“It’s true. I did have a dream.” I remember that Sam studied Jungian dream analysis so I’m eager to get his take on it. I tell him that I dreamed I was on a bed. Or a boat. Or some kind of boat-bed. And I’m trying to get back to shore. But there’s a tollgate, and the guy
I try not to think of my ex and his 25-year-old girlfriend.
won’t let me through. He says that my boat-bed is over the weight limit. I don’t understand. Then he points to the back of my boat and I realize that there’s a whale on board. And then…

Oh, God. The dream was about Sam. Obviously. I’m in his bed. I already know he has a boat. And he probably weighs close to 300 pounds. Sam doesn’t say anything. My whole head is burning with mortification. “Dreams. Go figure,” I say—a lame and ridiculously disingenuous comment considering how much time I’ve spent studying dream interpretation myself. In fact, it was one of the things Sam and I have in common.

“Yeah,” he says, looking straight at me. “Go figure.”

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
I am back in my car, pulling out of Sam’s driveway. After a rather awkward dinner at Sam’s favorite steakhouse, we agree that our relationship is doomed. Between his erectile dysfunction and my whale nightmare, it’s probably best to cut our losses and part as friends.

As I’m driving away from Sam’s three-story Victorian house in this posh, gentrified neighborhood, I tell my inner bag lady — the one who wants to marry this doctor because she’s terrified of winding up penniless and living out of a shopping cart under the highway — to stop worrying because everything is going to be O.K. It’s not like me to be optimistic, at least not when it comes to my personal finances, but I am starting to grow weary of my own fixation on what I’ve come to call “the life I left behind.”

By the time I get home, I’ve convinced myself I don’t have to worry so much. Then I check my email and I have proof—it’s going to be OK.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 27

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